Here's How to Factory Reset Your Nintendo Switch Before Selling It

With the Switch 2 on the horizon, you might be looking to sell your current Switch to make room for an upgrade. Here's what to know.

Mary-Elisabeth Combs Associate Writer
Mary-Elisabeth is an associate writer on CNET's How-To team. She's a recent graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill's English Department, and resides in Charlotte, North Carolina. On the How-To team, she covers a little bit of everything. When she's not writing, she's catching up on Formula 1 or reading.
Mary-Elisabeth Combs
2 min read
nintendo switch oled

Factory resetting your Switch before selling it or giving it away is a privacy best practice

James Martin/CNET

The Nintendo Switch and the upgraded OLED Switch have been Nintendo's most cutting-edge consoles for the past few years. However, this could all change soon. Nintendo has confirmed that the Switch 2 will be hitting the market sometime in the next year. So, if you're looking to upgrade and you need to get rid of your current Nintendo Switch, selling it for a bit of extra money could be a good option.   

CNET Tips_Tech

No matter the reason you're moving on from your Nintendo Switch, you always want to make sure your device has been factory reset and all your personal information has been wiped from it before you hand it off to a new owner. 

Factory-resetting your console has many benefits, but the primary one is that returning your device to its original default settings protects any sensitive personal information that could be left on the system. Even though many people don't store as much private information on their gaming consoles as they might on their phone or computer, completing a factory reset is a good practice to safeguard against potential privacy breaches.

For more, here's what we know about the Switch 2's rumored joycons and the best Nintendo Switch deals

Before you reset...

Nintendo offers a couple of tips and suggestions that you should keep in mind before you reset. First, the company advises that resetting your Nintendo Switch should take about 5 minutes for consoles that are running system OS version 10.0.0 or higher. 

Additionally, the company outlines what data will be lost if you factory reset your Switch. This list is pretty straightforward, and includes save data, screenshots and user information that's been stored on the device. 

If you want to erase only specific pieces of data, you can use Nintendo's Data Management settings to pick and choose what gets deleted while not having to fully reset your device. 

Note that your Switch must be connected to the internet while you're factory-resetting or initializing your device. Your Nintendo accounts will be unlinked during the reset process. 

How to reset your Switch

Resetting your Switch is simple. All you have to do is go to System Settings on the main menu, scroll down to System and select it. Then scroll down to the bottom of the menu and select Formatting Options. It's important to note that, if you have Parental Controls active on your Switch, you'll be prompted to enter your Parental Control PIN after selecting Formatting Options. 

After you've entered Formatting Options, you need to select Restore Factory Settings to factory-reset your Switch. Read through the information that's presented to you on the screen and click Next. Finally, select Restore Factory Settings to complete the process.